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An affidavit is a sworn statement that is made and written down, that is made under oath and in the presence of a notary public or other official that is authorized by the law.
They are used to establish or prove material information about something.
These statements are much more credible than a statement that someone has said.
For example, they can be submitted to a court to be presented as evidence in the absence of an individual who is unable to attend court for one reason or another.
A landlord for example can make an oral agreement with a tenant and later claim that the context of that conversation was misheard, misrepresented or misinterpreted.
If concession had been recorded in an affidavit, then there is no way the landlord can claim that he did not say something.
Affidavits are particularly useful when the knowledge and information that someone has would play a material role in a case, but are unable to attend court. Maybe because he or she is based overseas.
The person making the statement under oath is the affiant and can also be referred to as the deponent.